The world’s 400 richest people added $6.5 billion to their collective net worth this week as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. staged the biggest initial public offering ever in the U.S.
The Chinese e-commerce company rose 38 percent to $93.89 in New York, raising the fortune of Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder and China’s richest person, to $26.5 billion. Ma, 50, trails only Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing among Asian billionaires, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“He is the most charismatic CEO of a major tech company on the globe right now,” David Kirkpatrick, chief executive officer of Techonomy Media, said in a phone interview from his New York office. “He has a uniquely public persona that has benefited Alibaba tremendously.”
Alibaba has profited from China’s burgeoning consumer class by dominating the e-commerce industry in the country of 1.36 billion people. The company’s now valued at $231 billion, making it larger than Amazon.com Inc. and EBay Inc. combined, and more valuable than all but 9 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Business was less rosy for Russian billionaire Vladimir Evtushenkov. The founder of investment company AFK Sistema was placed under house arrest and charged with money-laundering Sept. 16, triggering a sell-off in shares of his companies and slicing his net worth by a third to $4.6 billion, according to the ranking. He denies the charges.
The 65-year-old became the richest Russian to face criminal charges since Mikhail Khodorkovsky more than a decade ago.
In Russia, top executives offered support for the billionaire, as reports of his release were met with denials from law enforcement. Russian stocks extended the biggest weekly drop this month as the reports failed to quell concern that the investigation into alleged money laundering was over. The Micex Index closed down 1.2 percent to 1,431.58 in Moscow, taking this week’s loss to 1.9 percent.
Boeing Co. and Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. were tapped by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Sept. 16 to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station and help the U.S. end its dependence on Russian rockets. The two companies will split as much as $6.8 billion in federal funding. The contract will pay a maximum of $2.6 billion to closely held SpaceX.
One of Musk’s other ventures, Tesla Motors Inc., fell 1.7 percent yesterday after a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analyst said the company may need at least $6 billion in capital as it builds a battery factory to boost production of its premium electric cars.
The automaker is targeting a 100,000-unit production pace by late next year and has an eventual goal to sell at least 500,000 cars annually. Tesla is building the factory to provide cheaper lithium-ion cells for its vehicles and has said the facility may cost as much as $5 billion.
Musk, who landed the top spot on Vanity Fair’s New Establishment list this year, finished the week down $893.5 million for the week. His $12.2 billion fortune makes him the world’s 95th-richest person, according to the Bloomberg ranking.
Larry Ellison, founder of software maker Oracle Corp., stepped down as company’s chief executive officer Sept. 18, ceding the company’s helm to co-CEOs Safra Catz and Mark Hurd. The billionaire remains the company’s chairman and chief technology officer.
Ellison, who turned 70 last month, guided the Redwood City, California-based company for more than 35 years to make it the world’s largest database-software company and one of the biggest providers of business programs. His departure as CEO also signals a broader changing of the guard in the technology industry, as a generation of founder-CEOs who ushered in the personal-computer and business-software era leave their posts.
Ellison rose alongside Apple Inc.’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft Corp.’s Bill Gates. Oracle went public on March 12, 1986, a day before Microsoft held its initial public offering. His $44.7 billion net worth makes No. 7 in the world.
Gates, 58, remains the world’s richest person with a $86.8 billion fortune, $3 billion ahead of Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim. Through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Microsoft co-founder committed $50 million this week to combat the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index takes measure of the world’s wealthiest people based on market and economic changes and Bloomberg News reporting. Each net worth figure is updated every business day at 5:30 p.m. in New York and listed in U.S. dollars.
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